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IT Matters: time to tackle the toughest part of enterprise imaging

November 24, 2016
Health IT
From the November 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Limiting the use of mobile imaging to specific user groups or mandating an enterprise-wide ban on mobile imaging are probably not viable solutions. Governance has frequently proven to be an ineffective solution to the one-man imaging department, just as governance was not an effective solution for keeping films out of the lockers and car trunks. This is why I believe that now is the time to tackle this tricky and troublesome part of enterprise imaging. What we have is a toxic soup of poor governance, inadequate technology and weak security. The potential for HIPAA violations and subsequent expensive litigation is obvious.

Unfortunately, the toughest part of this problem is not technology. There are numerous technology solutions that ultimately feed multimedia image data to PACS or neutral archives, and most clinical viewers can access and display both DICOM and non-DICOM image objects. The toughest part of this aspect of enterprise imaging is cost. Performing mobile imaging the correct, secure way will be prohibitively expensive, if the vendors are going to apply pricing structures patterned after radiology solutions to this class of image sets.

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Taking pictures of a rash during a dermatology office visit is not a reimbursable effort, so it is going to be very difficult arguing the value proposition for doing mobile imaging the correct way, unless the “all-in” pricing of component licenses (acquisition, managing, distributing and displaying) is going to be considerably less than that being charged for an ordered procedure. This pricing issue is an interesting problem, and one that I submit both the providers and the vendors had better start working on together to solve as quickly as possible.

About the author: Michael J. Gray is a consultant specializing in the digital management and distribution of medical image data, and the founder of Gray Consulting. Gray’s areas of expertise are market analysis, technology analysis, strategic planning, equipment utilization, needs assessment, workflow analysis and vendor analysis/selection.

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